It's NFL Draft week again, which means we should all steel ourselves for a barrage of opinion, innuendo and rumor masquerading as fact. The best current example of this is the hullabaloo about drug tests from the scouting combine. Several top prospects, including Boston College's B.J. Raji, reportedly tested positive for marijuana or steroids.
The results of the tests weren't released to teams until today, however, and Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com is now reporting that none of the players actually failed any tests. Florio and others are rightly indignant that whoever leaked and reported that the players failed the tests were doing a major disservice to these players' livelihoods but why did anyone pay any attention to it in the first place?
Think about it. The teams didn't know the results of the tests. The players knew, but why would they make the results public since positive tests were going to cost them millions of dollars? Nothing about it made any sense, but it made for good copy and everyone was more than willing to believe it because we've been conditioned to think there's some fountain of draft knowledge somewhere.
There's no other event in sports, perhaps in any arena, that leads to more people who know absolutely nothing pretending that they have the whole thing figured out. It's a good business, as Mel Kiper's bank account could attest, and it's entertaining, but it means nothing.
Not one word before the draft means anything, nor does the cottage industry of post-draft analysis that assigns grades to a bunch of players who haven't played one snap. You'd think people would figure that out sometime after Ryan Leaf, Tony Mandarich, Blair Thomas, Demetrius Underwood and the scores of other players who amounted to nothing more than punchlines.
Should players be publicly outed as drug users when they weren't even in? Of course not, but you shouldn't be believing it in the first place.